David Robert Hayward Jones (more commonly known as David Bowie) was an English musician and actor. He was born on 8 January 1947 in Brixton, London and was active in five decades of popular music. Bowie has influenced many musicians and is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth of his work.
Although he released an album (David Bowie) and several singles earlier, David Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in the autumn of 1969, when the song "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era as the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single "Starman" and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona epitomized a career often marked by musical innovation, reinvention and striking visual presentation.
In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single "Fame", co-written with John Lennon, and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer identified as "plastic soul". The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low (1977) — the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. The so-called "Berlin Trilogy" albums all reached the UK top five and garnered lasting critical praise.
After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes" and its parent album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He paired with Queen for the 1981 UK chart-topping single "Under Pressure", but reached a commercial peak in 1983 with the album Let's Dance, which yielded the hit singles "Let's Dance", "China Girl", and "Modern Love". Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. His last recorded album was Reality (2003), which was supported by the 2003-2004 Reality Tour.
In the BBC's 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie was ranked #29. Throughout his career he has sold an estimated 136 million albums, and ranks among the ten best-selling acts in UK pop history. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest Rock Artists of All Time and the 23rd best singer of all time.